The five police officers fatally shot by a sniper Thursday night in Dallas, Texas, included military veterans and family men, a newlywed and a longtime cop described as "a salt of the earth kind of guy."
Gunman Micah Johnson had targeted law enforcement officers, ambushing them as they patrolled a peaceful march protesting the police shootings of African-Americans days earlier. Johnson shot 12 officers in the downtown attack, killing five and wounding seven. Two civilians also were shot, authorities said.
Four of the seven wounded officers have been identified so far. Three of those were DART officers: Misty McBride, 32, Omar Cannon, 44, and Jesus Retana, 39. One of the wounded Dallas Police Department officers is Gretchen Rocha, identified by her sister.
Johnson, cornered after the ambush, told a police negotiator he wanted to kill white people – specifically white police officers – in retaliation for the deaths of two black men earlier in the week at the hands of police in the states of Minnesota and Louisiana. The gunman was killed with a police robot bomb after negotiations to bring him in peacefully failed.
Johnson was a U.S. Army veteran who served in Afghanistan. His victims include:
Lorne Ahrens, 48
Aherns was a senior corporal with the Dallas Police Department, serving on the force since 2002. Originally from California, the strapping 6-footer was married to a Dallas police detective and had two children, ages 10 and 8.
Ahrens "a greatly respected veteran of the department” as well as “a jokester," friends on the force told The Dallas Morning News. They said he also showed compassion to people in the community he served; for example, the day before he was shot, he bought dinner for a homeless man and his dog.
He was "a big, bald cop with a wicked sense of humor," local TV station WFAA reported. It quoted a police pal as saying, "You know, this is the guy we called Meat. A big guy, invincible."
Michael Krol, 40
He had always wanted to be a police officer, said Krol’s uncle, Jim Ehlke. Prior to joining the Dallas police, Krol worked at a correctional facility in Michigan, but still wanted to do more.
"He got into law enforcement and worked really hard to be a police officer," Ehlke said. "He spent some time at the correctional facility. It wasn't quite what he was looking for, so he worked pretty hard to find a job and got one in Dallas."
Krol joined the force in 2007 and sometimes regaled family and friends with stories from his beat, but “he was proud to be a police officer,” another relative told the Morning News.
Michael Smith, 55
The fifth officer killed in the attack, the sergeant was a Texas native. He served as an Army Ranger before becoming a Dallas police officer in 1989. He had previously won the “Cops’ Cop” award from the Dallas Police Association for his dedicated service.
“You couldn’t ask for a more salt of the earth kind of guy,” a family friend told the Morning News.
He leaves behind a wife of 17 years and two daughters, ages 9 and 14.
Brent Thompson, 43
Thompson, an officer with the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) system for seven years, was the first of the five officers killed Thursday night. Before joining the DART police force, he worked for military contractor DynCorp International, where he spent more than four years in Iraq working alongside American soldiers to help train and mentor the Iraqi police force.
He had just married another DART officer two weeks ago, DART Chief James Spiller said. Thompson was also a father and grandfather from a previous marriage.
Patrick Zamarripa, 32
Zamarripa also served in Iraq. He completed three tours with the U.S. Navy and had deployed in Bahrain, according to military records. Upon returning from Iraq, he served in the military reserves while maintaining his service with the Dallas police.
He’d recently been detailed to patrol the downtown on bicycle, Agence France Presse reported.
He leaves behind longtime partner Kristy Villasenor, their 2-year-old daughter and a stepson. Zamarripa's stepbrother, on Twitter, invited prayers for the officer and said, "I couldn't be prouder of you, brother."
The Associated Press and Agence France Presse contributed to this report.